Review: The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

  • Paperback:320 pages
  • Publisher:Plume; 1 edition (December 27, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0452297672
  • Source: Publisher

The summer of 1942, young Anne Calloway sets off to the Pacific island of Bora-Bora to serve as a nurse for the Army Nurse Corps.  She’s engaged to get married; this venture is her last bit of adventure before becoming a married woman.  She goes to Bora-Bora with her best friend, Kitty, a flirtatious, free-spirited young woman.

Once they reach Bora-Bora, an island full of military men who haven’t seen women in ages, it doesn’t take Kitty long to find a few potential love interests.  Anne, still questioning her engagement, yet also feeling guilt for “abandoning” her fiance to embark on this adventure, soon forges a friendship with a soldier named Westry. They find solace in one another at an abandoned bungalow, leaving notes to one another using fictitious names. Soon, their friendship blooms into something much more.  A horrible murder & the ravages of war threaten their budding romance.

The reader “meets” Anne decades later, an elderly woman now.  As she ages, she can’t help but look back upon this time spent in Bora-Bora, wondering “what if.” She’s taken back in time when she receives communication from the island that forever changed her.

Spanning not only time but location, The Bungalow is a breathtakingly beautiful look at undying, endearing, true love. Those that know me well know that I’m not really a fan of love stories, yet for some reason the power of Jio’s writing envelopes me, takes me away to a completely different time and place. She did so with The Violets of March and succeeded and doing it again with The Bungalow.  The love that is shared between Anne & Westry is a genuine one, not over the top or forced. The setting, despite taking place in the midst of World War II, is a beautiful one. It adds to the romance shared between these to young individuals.

Bottom line: The Bungalow is a book that will completely engage you; don’t be surprised if it forces to be read in one sitting. It’s a story of love in the midst of death, love that continues despite the passing of time. Highly recommended!